According to this story, which I came to by way of slashdot,
Author Paulo ‘Pirate’ Coelho leapt out of obscurity and onto the best-seller list by giving away his books on the Net. The best-selling author of ‘The Alchemist’ will even help you pirate his books via his blog.
Well shit, sez I. I’ve been giving away my books Acts of the Apostles and Cheap Complex Devices on my blog since early 2003, and Lord knows I have not “leapt out of obscurity”. What gives? I’m willing to admit that it’s possible this guy’s books are better than mine, but frankly, I doubt it. I just think he’s got better marketing than I do: whereas my books are available (PDF) from Wetmachine, his are all over the damn place on bittorrent. So good for him; I congratulate him. Well done! Especially since Coelho did this action on his own, according to the articles, and against the wishes of his publisher.
I should like to emulate him. But while I understand how torrent P2P stuff works abstractly, I confess that when, last week, I finally got around to trying to set up a torrent myself, I got confused and gave it up. Would you, dear reader more familiar with bittorrenting, perchance care to torrent my books for me? If so I should be greatly in your debt.
In the more-than-likely case that you have no idea what my books are like, you might start by checking out Rusty Foster’s reviews. Rusty is the founder of Kuro5hin and the original creator of Scoop software, which drives Daily Kos and a bajillion similar sites. In other words, he’s a geek of unimpeachable geek credentials. He says Acts of the Apostles may well be the ultimate hacker book, and that Cheap Complex Devices is astonishing, on just about every level a book can be astonishing. And of course Google can find you many dozens of other reviews of both books.
My books are under the Creative Commons noncommercial, no derivatives license. Basically, all I care about is that no big corporations rip them off for movie or books without working a deal with me. But I don’t care if any private persons print or translate them. Be my guest.All I ask is that if you do put my books out there in the wild on P2P nets, that you give me proper attribution. I realized that there’s no way to control what others will do with them down the line.
Beyond spreading the wonderfulness or my fictional creations with the world, I hope to make a few dollars from selling the printed books through wetmachine. Wouldn’t it be nice if I “leapt out of obscurity and onto the best-seller list”? It would make a charming story, especially given recent developments in the erstwhile day job.
Come on, guys and gals, let’s make geeky me-too history together. What’s the alternative? That I figure out how to set it up myself? Oh well, I will if I have to, but that would deprive you of a chance to participate in creating the next publishing phenomenon.